If you like to quilt, you will love Aunt Polly's Material Girls.
This charming shop, tucked along the scenic shores of the Hudson River, is a crafter's delight. Wonderful fabrics, plenty of notions, specialty tools, and local wool are all available at this full service quilting shop.
Though I am not a crafter or quilter, I do enjoy the end products. This place helps anyone see the appeal.
So much color
The idea of sandwiching a layer of padding between two layers of fabric is a very old one, as seen in the origins of the word "quilt" from the Latin "culcita," meaning "a stuffed sack." It is a noun, meaning something to keep us warm in bed, and also a verb, as in the act of making one.
Proprietor Maggie prides herself on providing good value. She buys her fabric on sale and passes the savings on to her customers. The choices, and variety, are staggering. Just looking over the sumptious colors and patterns is a visual feast. Whatever the occasion, or whoever the recipient, there is probably something here that would fit exactly.
Quilting fans recognize three types of patchwork. There are the whole cloth quilt, known as counterpane, where the fabric sheets are all of a piece and the design comes from padded or corded stitching.
Next there are applique quilts, in which smaller pieces of fabric are sewn onto a larger background fabric. This was a step up in elegance.
The third one is what most of us think of, known as the pieced, or patchwork, quilt, where pieces of fabric are stitched together to make a pattern. The patchwork quilt was a "utility" quilt meant to be used in daily life, while the applique quilt was a way of showing off a woman's skills.
A patchwork quilt was first a way of getting another use from worn out garments, but then turned into a kind of family history, and an heirloom to hand down from generation to generation.
This helps explain why I saw so many themes in the fabrics I would have never would have thought of, like American Presidents, scenes from history, and lots of nature themes. Especially Adirondack.
My grandmother was an expert seamstress, famous for visiting "the big city" and coming home to recreate the latest fashions on her sewing machine back on the farm. Sadly, I did not inherit this particular skill.
The last time I tried sewing a button on my winter coat, I sewed the button to the coat, the coat to my pants, and all of us to the couch.
I am not allowed to sew on buttons any more.
So much local
There are delightful gifts to be had in various sections of the store. PIllows, charming bags, mysterious quilting tools, and yes, actual quilts, are all available. These are made by local crafters, and would make wonderful gifts.
If you have a knitter on your list, prepare to have them jump up and down when they open their gift of local wool. Upper Hudson Woolery is from right in the area, and you can buy it as skeins, or ask about something that has already been made from it.
Happy, spoiled, sheep lead to happy, spoiled, gift recipients. Talk about putting a face to the story. Here they are.
Get to know your wool.
One summer, I tried to learn knitting from my other grandmother, who was a known expert. But my little square was always lopsided and by the end of my summer's visit my grandmother admitted defeat. I just could not keep the tension right, even with the "cheating" known as a crochet hook. Fortunately, my mother is gifted, and keeps us all in lovely scarves each winter.
So it is not like I cannot appreciate fine crafting.
So much choice
I asked about quilts for sale, and was very impressed with the beauty of the quilt below. Maggie spread it out on a bed in a spare room to let me photograph it in all its lovely glory.
There was something adorable around every corner. I may be especially vulnerable, since I cannot make my own. There was jewelry, handmade stationery, and the elusive coin purse, which is so hard to find as a quality item.
There are lots of threads and specialty tools available. They also come in gift sets, as seen below.
One holiday season in grade school we got burlap and yarn and big plastic needles to learn embroidery. I did a sunset and the teacher said I had a "real love of color."
So be assured that even someone like me, with a very craft-challenged background, had a wonderful time at this shop.
Do try to visit sometime. You are sure to feel welcome.
Pick some lodging. Arrange some dining. Explore the shopping.